[THE INVESTOR] The Korean Cabinet approved on Dec. 31 a revision to the Enforcement Decree of the Minimum Wage Act, which calls for including legally-mandated holiday hours, such as Sundays, in the calculation of minimum wage beginning in 2019.
Under the revised regulations, employers are obliged to pay workers extra wages, worth a day’s work, for legal holidays, like Sundays.
As agreed by the Cabinet, however, non-legal holidays, such as a company’s foundation day, which are agreed upon between individual companies and their labor unions, will be excluded from the minimum wage calculations.
Next year’s state-set minimum wage will rise 10.9 percent to 8,350 won (US$7.51) per hour from 7,530 won this year.
The most contentious issue surrounding the latest legal revision was the paid holiday hours, as employers will have to pay employees who work more than 15 hours per week additional wages for eight hours of work for Sunday.
Government officials said there won’t be much change in the labor sector, as the revision of the minimum wage enforcement decree will only stipulate an administrative guideline that has been in effect over the past three decades.
But small business owners and employers’ organizations argue that the stipulation of the inclusion of legal holidays in the minimum wage calculation will cause additional financial burdens on them, forcing many of them to violate the law and resort to expedient measures.
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (email@example.com)